Spamming Overwatch Voice Lines Can Get You In Trouble

In Overwatch, each character has a series of prerecorded voice lines that players can deploy at will during matches. These include everything from greetings and taunts to McCree's notoriously Kirk-Hamilton-irritating "I'm your Huckleberry." It isn't hard to spam them. Just because you can, however, does not mean you should.

In a recent Overwatch forum post, one player complained that they'd been unjustly silenced - that is, had their communication functionality disabled - on multiple occasions. In response, principle designer Scott Mercer pulled up records of the player's grievances and specifically noted that, even without a microphone, this player had been "spamming voice lines" in addition to being a poor sport, killing themselves, and generally being a nuisance.

The voice lines thing caught other players' attention, because it isn't uncommon for folks to make characters babble out greetings and whatnot like their motormouths have caught fire. It's usually in good fun, though.

"You can get SILENCED for Voiceline spamming?????" wrote one player, summing up others' concerns.

Mercer went on to clarify that voice line spam is only a problem when it interferes with other players' ability to enjoy themselves.

"Abusive Chat is any form of hateful, discriminatory, obscene, or disruptive communications," Mercer wrote. "Threatening or harassing another player on either team is also unacceptable, regardless of the words used. So YES, if you spam character voice lines in a way that is either disruptive or would be considered harassment, then you could be actioned."

Some players seem to regard this as the advent of some totalitarian voice line monitoring regime, but I imagine the bulk of players who spam the odd quote here and there for a laugh will never get any Blizzard-branded grief for it. In this case, especially, it seems like voice line spam was an extension of other, more overtly abusive behaviours. In Overwatch as in life, don't be a dick and you'll probably be fine.

Unless you're a Genji who spams "I need healing" all the time. Then you deserve whatever terrible fate befalls you.


    Just to add some context, since I was involved in the thread in question on the Overwatch forums, the thread was actually about the problem of false reporting in Overwatch on consoles.

    It's become such a problem that Microsoft even changed how their reporting system works so that now people with Avoid Me reputation aren't hindered when it comes to matchmaking in games. This was done due to the vast number of false Overwatch reports being made on Xbox.

    Now, back to the reports that Mercer cited, all they did was note that such reports had been received. There was actually no verification that the reports were legitimate; only that they'd been made.

    Same with the claims of Abusive Chat - Mercer noted that the player was in chat at the time, but didn't clarify whether or not they were actually being abusive. They didn't even note if the player was actually speaking, just that they were in the channel at the time the report was made.

    It's very easy for people to make false reports on console, and posts like Mercer's aren't doing much to assuage player's concerns about this.

    The player in question didn't actually spam voice lines.

    The thread in question is actually about false reporting on consoles.

    Both Mercer and this article have completely missed the point, and both have vilified the player without a shred of proof.

      Oh geez, it's certainly not as cut and dry as portrayed.

      Seems people are starting to question the information they are using for bans.
      I would hope they aren't relying simply on the honour system.

      Is there something you know that we don't? ZeroSymbolic was the OP who had received a silence ban. His line about the thread being about the report system and not his ban was obvious fluff, since he spent more than half of it talking about his case and how he wasn't on the microphone at the time, and most other replies he made in the thread were about his case.

      Scott Mercer's response answered both elements: reports are checked before being acted on to minimise abuse, and in ZeroSymbolic's particular case one of the contributing factors was spamming voice lines.

      There's no evidence for or against whether he spammed voice lines. Mercer says he did, ZeroSymbolic says he did use voice lines multiple times in quick succession and sometimes spammed 'hello'. He didn't start recording games until after the incident, so there's nothing to go on except their words.

      I see you posted in the thread with your own complaint. I appreciate that you're frustrated with your experience with Blizzard, but are you sure you're not projecting your own story and desired outcome onto ZeroSymbolics' one? It may be that the complaints made against him are legitimate, but that doesn't mean the same is true for your case.

        Yes, Zero was the OP who's copped silence bans from which he claims were false reports. He's begun posting his matches to YouTube so people can see how he plays and invites them to come to their own conclusions.

        Mercer only said that they check to see if a player was in chat; he did not say they check to see what was actually said.

        As for the other reports for things like griefing and spamming voice lines, Mercer only said that such reports had been received. He did not actually confirm whether Zero actually did what he's being accused of, nor did he make any mention as to whether reports for those other things are actually investigated.

        There is a major issue with the console versions of the game when it comes to false reporting. Microsoft went so far as to change how their reputation system works on Xbox Live so as to no longer limit people from matchmaking in games due to the sheer number of false Overwatch reports that had been made.

        Zero's and my situations are quite similar. I've also been the victim of false reporting and I've also copped silences because of it.

        I think Mercer's post was quite eye opening as it indicated that there's not a whole lot of verification going on and they seem to just take reports at face value, which is a frightening thought indeed.

        Last edited 27/10/17 1:03 am

    oh thats brilliant, nothing more annoying when someone on your team keeps spamming something over and over. its not like you can mute them.

      Muting them in game on PC apparently mutes their in game voice lines too. If only that was the same on the console versions!

    When people do this kind of thing I always wonder about the psychology behind it. What kind of person derives pleasure from this? Do they think they're cool or edgy? Do they get a buzz from repeating something endlessly for attention? Are they just simple?

      Some people do it just to troll, or because they think its funny, others do it as a means of psyching out their opponents, apparently not caring that it might annoy their teammates in the process.

      I just hope that Blizzard make good on their claim so that we no longer have to endure things like a Genji spamming "You are only human" for an entire damn match.

      I don't really play Overwatch anymore. And I didn't really spam voice lines, a bit in spawn sometimes. There was something poetic about spamming Tracer's line "Ever get that feeling of deja vu?" though.

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